Kevin Locke

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Kevin Isgor LockeKevin Locke (Lakota name: Tȟokéya Inážiŋ, meaning "The First to Arise"; born 1954) is Lakota (Hunkpapa band) and Anishinaabe. He is a preeminent player of the Native American flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist, fluent Lakota language and sign language speaker, and educator. He is most known for his hoop dance, The Hoop of Life.

Born in 1954 in Southern California, at the age of five years Locke moved north with his family, later to settle in South Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation in 1966. It was from his mother, Patricia Locke, his uncle Abraham End-of-Horn, mentor Joe Rock Boy, and many other elders and relatives that Kevin received training in the values, traditions and language of his native Sioux culture. He is frequently cited as an ambassador of Native American culture to the United States and the world.

Mr. Locke attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico for high school and earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of South Dakota. He taught himself to speak Lakota, his ancestral language, as a young adult. Mr. Locke learned the hoop dance, which had nearly died out, from Arlo Good Bear, a Mandan Hidatsa Indian from North Dakota.  Since 1978, he has traveled to more than 90 countries to perform and has continued to perform abroad most recently as July 2018, Malaysia Rainforest Festival. He is scheduled to appear at 9th International Sefika Kutluer Festival: East Meets West in Ankara Turkey in December 2018.

Locke has served as cultural ambassador for the United States Information Service since 1980, was a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil and was a featured performer and speaker at the 1996 United Nations Habitat II Conference in Turkey. He has recorded albums beginning in 1982, and is an active member of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1990, he won a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest award granted to such traditional artists. In 2009 he won the $100,000 Bush Foundation Award. Mr. Locke is on the advisory board of the World Flute Society.  In 2018, he founded the Patricia Locke Foundation named after his late mother Patricia Ann Locke with the mission to provide educational opportunities for underserved children and youth. Mr. Locke uses folk arts to emphasize universal themes that are integral to all peoples. Universality of human spirit, its inclination towards peace, balance, harmony, and a longing that all human beings have for the Divine Springtime are a few central themes that he displays in his hoop dance, which is essentially a prayer for the unification of all mankind. Using his folk arts as a vehicle, Locke shares this prayer with children and adult alike ranging from 50 to 55,000 people at a time. Even though he has performed in many prestigious venues to innumerable dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama, his favorite audience continues to be children and youth.

Mr. Locke comes from a distinguished family. His great-great-grandfather was the famous Dakota patriot, Little Crow. His great-grandmother, Mniyáta Ožáŋžaŋ Wiŋ, was a renowned medicine woman. His mother, Patricia Locke, was an activist for Indian rights and recognition. When recently asked about his mission in life his said: "All of the people have the same impulses, spirits, and goals. Through my music and dance, I want to create a positive awareness of oneness of humanity.